Joining us today is multi-published Sheila Roberts, author of the women’s fiction novel, Angel Lane (St. Martin’s Press).
Writing since 1989, she has had twenty-four books published both in fiction and non-fiction under different names and in different languages. Her books are making best-seller lists on a regular basis and her novel On Strike for Christmas is becoming a Christmas perennial, and will be in the stores again this year for the third year in a row. When she’s not speaking at conferences or hanging out with her girlfriends she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate. You can visit her website at www.sheilasplace.com.
Thank you for this interview, Sheila. Can you tell us what your latest book, Angel Lane, is all about?
Sheila: Angel Lane is a about three friends who decide to bring their community together by launching a grass roots good deeds campaign . . . and quickly learn that no good deed goes unpunished. Poor Emma Swanson helps the town mooch and slashes prices at her quilt shop to the point of teetering on extinction. Sarah Goodwin, who is going through granddaughter withdrawals, decides to offer a baking class for local little girls and winds up with a future baker who has very sticky fingers. Oh, yes, and she also finds her new neighbor the lounge lizard is determined to mistake neighborliness for a bad case of Desperate Housewives disease. Jamie Moore, who owns the local chocolate shop, is determined not to fall in love again, but well, you know what they say: never say never. Lost cats, mixed signals, and backfiring good deeds – is it worth it? Absolutely.
Is this your first novel? If not, how has writing this novel different from writing your first?
Sheila: No. I’ve been doing this for a while. One thing never changes: my process. I start out loving the book, reach a point where I realize I’m working and hate the book, then, finally, after all the edits and tweaks, I fall back in love with it all over again. I’m proud of this book and think it’s both fun and encouraging. In short, a good read! (And I must say, the recipes are fabulous.)
Q: How difficult was it writing your book? Did you ever experience writer’s block and, if so, what did you do?
Sheila: Like I said, it was work. But I didn’t experience writer’s block, and I think that is because I had pretty well planned out where I was going. I think writer’s block is often a case of getting lost in your own story. Really knowing where you want to go helps avoid getting lost. Not that things don’t change along the way, but still, when you’ve got your route mapped you can afford to stop and explore some side roads.
Q: How have your fans embraced your latest novel? Do you have any funny or unusual experiences to share?
Sheila: Too early to know that. I sure hope they will like it. I will say that some of the experiences in the book were based on my own. I have a scene in the book where one of my characters gets bitten by a dog when she’s passing out invitations to the organizational meeting for the “Put the Heart in Heart Lake” campaign. Well, guess who that happened to! I was going around the neighborhood passing out fliers for our first ever community picnic and got bitten by someone’s dog. I felt almost as badly for the dog’s owner as I did for me. (Almost.) The poor woman was mortified. Needless to say, that was the last flier I passed out. Ever.
Q: What is your daily writing routine?
Sheila: I work hard but I don’t have set office hours. I usually get started around mid-morning and then log in about four hours. Or five. Or six. It all depends. I always make a point to schedule my writing around my social life. In September I traveled around Germany with my husband and son. I sat in the backseat and worked on my new book, writing it out long hand in a notebook. This beat looking out the window at all the crazy drivers roaring around us trying to kill us.
Q: When you put the pen or mouse down, what do you do to relax?
Sheila: Oh, wow. So much. I love tennis, volleyball and dancing. I love to go to chick flicks and play games with my girlfriends and snuggle on the couch watching the tube with my hubby. I love to entertain and read and I am addicted to “Dancing with the Stars”.
Q: What book changed your life?
Sheila: The Bible.
Q: If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be?
Sheila: Dingbats Among Us.
Q: Finish this sentence: “The one thing that I wish people would understand about me is…”
Sheila: Gosh, I don’t think I can answer that. I’m pretty much an open book. Oh, wait. How about this? I tend to speak before I think. (When you talk as much as I do this can happen.) Sooo, if I ever say something dumb, know I’m not really dumb – I’m just not thinking. There is a difference, right? J
Thank you for this interview, Sheila. I wish you much success on your latest release, Angel Lane!